This Whole Wheat Vegan Carrot Cake is moist and flavorful, plus made with some healthier substitutions like flax seed, whole wheat white flour, applesauce and coconut oil for one amazing cake everyone (yes, even the non-vegans!) goes crazy for.
*photos and recipe slightly updated March 2019 – same deliciousness!
So I made you a vegan carrot cake with cashew frosting… and it’s kind of amazing.
And I’m not just saying that – everyone that tries this cake *loves* it. And pretty certain they have no idea it’s made egg free and with whole grain flour.
The first time I made this vegan carrot cake I was testing it on some coworkers. It didn’t last long.
The next time I made it for my family for Mother’s Day (carrot cake is my mom’s favorite). My family doesn’t really want traditional baked goods to be messed with but I do it anyways 😀 And guess what?
Winner winner carrot cake for dinner.
Vegan Carrot Cake Ingredients
- 3 cups grated carrots
- whole wheat white flour (see recipe notes)
- baking powder & soda
- flax seed meal
- coconut oil (or other oil)
- non-dairy milk
For the Frosting (soy-free & vegan option)
- cashews, soaked & drained
- coconut milk
- maple syrup
How to Make Vegan Carrot Cake
To start the cake, make up your flax eggs first. You’ll need to let your flax seeds soak in water for about 10-15 minutes, until a thick gel forms. This acts as the egg replacer.
Meanwhile mix together the dry ingredients (separately) and grate your carrots. If you’re not grating the carrots by hand, this cake can be made even quicker by using a food processor. I used my food processor* with the shredding attachment, then the blade to cut them down into bits.
You then transfer the carrots to your bowl of flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices.
And because I didn’t want to dirty another bowl, I just wiped out the food processor bowl and started combining the wet ingredients in there.
Blend the sugars with the flax eggs, then add in your melted coconut oil and applesauce.
Once that is all blended, you add your wet ingredients to your flour/carrot bowl of dry ingredients and gently combine. Then evenly disperse the batter into two lined 9″ round cake pans.
I used both parchment paper + greased the pans with coconut oil to ensure they came out perfectly. This cake should take roughly 25 minutes if using 9″ round pans. Just let cool in the pan for about 20 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
If you are using a 9×13, watch cake at 35-40 minutes, and test with toothpick until it comes out clean. I did not test in a 9×13 pan myself, so if you try it out let me know how it goes!
Use a blender to make the frosting
This frosting isn’t like your standard buttercream. It’s a little thinner. But you can you full-fat coconut milk to create a thicker consistency. And also make sure you chill the frosting before whipping. Then frost the cake.
So I hope you guys make this cake!! Vegans and non-vegans alike will love it.
Let me know if you try it by leaving a comment and review here on the blog.
- 1/4 cup milled flax seeds* + 3/4 cup lukewarm water, soaked for 10 minutes
- 3/4 granulated sugar
- 3/4 organic light brown sugar (or sub coconut sugar)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted & cooled
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
- 2 cups whole wheat white flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 TBS ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1/8 tsp ginger
- 3 cups grated carrots (about 1lb)
Vegan Cashew Cream Frosting:
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 6 hours, drained & rinsed
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1/3 cup canned coconut milk
- Preheat oven to 350ºF; line two 9″ round cake pans with parchment paper, plus lightly grease. Set aside.
- In medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup flax seeds and 3/4 cup water and whisk together. Let seeds and water form gel, about 15 minutes total, whisking every 5 minutes.
- Grate carrots while flax seeds thicken. (I used my food processor with shredding disc + blade, see pictures in post)
- In a large bowl add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Whisk until evenly combined, then fold in grated carrots.
- In the clean bowl of your food processor (or large bowl using hand mixer, or stand mixer with whisk attachment) combine sugars, flax “eggs”, and vanilla extract until creamy, about 30 seconds. With the motor still running, add in applesauce, and pour steady stream of coconut oil until wet ingredients are evenly combined.
- Pour wet ingredients into large bowl of flour/carrot mixture. Using a large rubber spatula, gently combine and then add in milk to fully combine. Disperse batter evenly into prepared pans.
- Bake cake for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Let cake cool in pans for about 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the frosting: Combine rinsed cashews with 1/3 cup of maple syrup, and 1/3 cup of non-dairy milk in a high speed blender or food processor. Process until creamy, even consistency forms. Transfer frosting to a bowl and set in freezer for 30 minutes to firm. Once chilled, whip frosting with hand mixer or use whisk. Spread a medium-thick layer of frosting evenly over first layer of cake, then layer second cake on top and frost completely. Store cake in fridge to chill and set frosting before serving.
FLOUR: You can use half whole wheat, half all-purpose flour with similar results. Whole wheat pastry flour can be subbed equally. Also if looking for a gluten-free friendly option, your best bet is to use a 1-to-1 all-purpose gluten-free baking flour. I like Bob’s Red Mill.
EGGS: Chia seeds (same amount/water ratio) can most likely be subbed for flax seeds, but I have not tried this myself. If wanting to use actual eggs, use 4 whole large eggs. (1 TBS milled flaxseed + 3 TBS water = 1 egg.)
Store leftover cake in fridge up to 5 days.
This cake can by made in a 9×13 pan, but baking times will differ. Check cake with toothpick at 35-40 minutes and adjust times accordingly.
(Nutrition does not count frosting option)
recipe adapted from all recipes
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 195
- Sugar: 14
- Sodium: 269
- Fat: 8
- Saturated Fat: 6
- Unsaturated Fat: 0
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 26
- Fiber: 4
- Protein: 3
- Cholesterol: 0
photos by Erin Alvarez